Most people ruin their chances of getting a job before even turning in their application. As someone currently working in Human Resources I see hundreds of applications. What most people do not know is their chances of getting called back for an interview are impossible if they break one of these 8 tips. And without an interview, there will be no job.

 Follow these steps when applying for your next career.

8 Simple Steps You MUST Follow:

1.)    Dress Nice

This sounds shallow, but you only have one chance to make a first impression. When I see individuals wearing wrinkled stained pants and a sweatshirt I automatically assume that they have poor attention to detail, do not take care about their stuff (so why would they take care of ours?), and that they do not really want this job.

Typically, you should dress one step up from what a regular employee at that organization wears. For example, if most employees wear jeans and a T-shirt to work then try dressing in something like khaki pants and a polo top. If the workers dress mainly in business casual, take it one step higher and add a tie or suit jacket, etc.

If you are unsure of worker outfits, remember it is always better to overdress. This shows your future employer that you are serious about wanting to work for them and that you care about your overall presentation. As always, make sure there is no lint or pet hair on your clothes either.

 2.)    Smell Good

This may sound obvious, but this is one of the biggest applicant offenses. No one wants to hire someone who smells bad. Make sure you have showered and shaved that day. If you are a smoker, do not smoke after you have showered. Even if you do not notice the smell yourself, a non-smoker can detect even a trace of cigarette smoke.  

Be careful not to go the other extreme and spray too much cologne or perfume. No one should be able to smell you before or after you enter the room. An overpowering and lingering fragrance can be just as bad as body odor.

 Sometimes it’s hard to notice your own smell, so ask a friend or family member what they think before you head out the door.

3.)    Be prepared

Before coming in make sure you are fully prepared with everything you need and are able to answer any questions they might have for you.

Helpful things to bring are an extra copy of your application, resume, and references. That way if anything happens to your original copies such as a coffee spill or rain drops leak onto it, you will have a clean copy still available.

 Other things to include are a pen in case there are additional papers you need to fill out or a sign-in sheet. As well as an umbrella so that if it is raining you don’t come in out of breath from running to the door. Finally, don’t forget your reading glasses if you are someone who wears them. You never know what other papers or forms they might ask you to read so bring your glasses as a precautionary.

Always do research on the company before. Understand what they do and how you could contribute to their organization. It amazes me how many people turn in their resume and then ask me what we do. That tells me that they are only interested in getting a paycheck and do not care about the overall well-being of our company. With a plethora of information available online, make sure you do your research beforehand.

 4.)    Impress the Front Staff

This one covers over a multitude of wrongdoings. This is because often supervisors or human resource managers ask for the receptionists’ opinions of the applicant. It might seem like they only answers phones and makes copies, but they are the ones who first interact with the applicant. Our receptionist screens candidates and will either recommend or discourage the HR office to hire someone based on how they presented themselves and spoke with her. If someone is rude or shows an obvious lack of respect, they will not get an interview.

The reason I say it covers a multitude of wrongdoings is this. Let’s say you missed step #2 and you come in smelling like cigarette smoke. If you are able to positively connect with the front desk staff in any way possible, they might say, “Well he smelled heavily of smoke, but he seems very interested in working here and has great work experience already.”

Try to engage the staff in some way whether it’s by complimenting them on the landscape of the building, giving a quick summary of why you want to work there and an overview of your skills, or even by just genuinely smiling and asking them how their day is going.

5.)     Be Kind to everyone

Many applicants come in so nervous or focused on turning their application in that they shut everything out. Who is to say that the person you could have held the door open for was not the CEO walking out the building? Maybe the janitor is a relative of someone who has influence in the company. Maybe the volunteer you meet is the owner’s daughter. They might not be, but you do not know that. So be kind and polite to everyone you encounter.

6.)    Ask Questions

If possible ask if there is an HR representative or manager that has time to speak with you while you are there. Even if it is a quick handshake and hello, it still allows them to know who you are.

 If that is not possible, make sure you get a name of who to contact to follow up on your application. Most managers are very busy, so if you are able to get their e-mail address and a phone number, you will have a better chance of reaching them.

7.)    Turn in a Clean and Complete Application

When you turn in your application and resume make sure it is clean and undamaged.  There should not be any stains or spills on it. Do not scribble anything out, and do not wrinkle or fold it. The best way to ensure this from happening is to put it in a plain folder and then only take it out when you are at their office turning it in. Also make sure you have answered every question accurately and honestly on the application.

8.)    Apply at the Right Time

 Always call ahead and ask if there is a certain day or time that they prefer you to come in with your application. If they say it does not matter, there are still better days and times than others.

For example, do not turn in an application on a Monday or Friday. On Monday most offices are busy planning for the week and catching up from last. Fridays are not ideal because people have already entered weekend mode, and are not thinking about new hires. Therefore, applying on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday provides the optimum time for applicants.

Also, find out what time the office is open. Apply at least two hours after the office has opened or at least two hours before it has closed. That way it is neither right as they are coming in or right as they are preparing to leave. Avoid applying at the lunch hour as well so that you have a better chance of meeting a supervisor or human resource manager.


If you follow these 8 steps when filling out and applying for your next career, you will greatly increase your chances of getting a coveted job interview. First impressions matter and by heeding the advice above you will be on your way to landing your next position.